The Esquire Maternity Shoot! (sort of!) / by Christian Webb

So...here they are,  our maternity images! Literally 2 days to go before the arrival of our boy Leandro! So what's the deal with these images and why so last minute?

For a few months now, the requisite maternity shoot has been on my mind and of course, Patsi has been eagerly wanting to get it done. I've put it off and put it off and put it off. So, when the final month or so came around, I had to get serious. So what to do? Well, I knew what I didn't want to do: A typical maternity shoot with the mom to be standing in beautiful light holding her belly and looking down. Or..any variance of said pose and set up.. (most definitely not a shot with me standing behind her, arms cusped around the bump.  I simply didn't want a plain ol' portrait of any type.  I needed something a bit more funky and fun. Convincing Patsi to NOT do the typical pregnancy type of shoot was another challenge but....she trusted me and we prepared for the day.

NOTE: There's nothing wrong with the aforementioned type of maternity shoots.  I see incredibly beautiful work out there all the time and it's super DOPE! 

"I got this!"   

So what to do?  About a month ago, I came across the famous, somewhat controversial Esquire Magazine shot of Bill Clinton shot by Platon.   In the image, Bill sits tall, proud and confident,  legs wide open, crotch straight to the camera.  For obvious reasons, the image implied a certain...arrogance and pride in a sexual sense.  So I thought, well, what's more powerful and sexy than a woman with child?  There's pure strength there unlike any man can know.   And that's just sexy.  This was the start.   Turns out, that about 8 years after the Clinton shoot, Esquire and photographer Cliff Watts decided to recreate the cover using that year's Sexiest Woman Alive winner, Halle Berry.  Again,  power, sexiness and confidence but this time, a woman instead of a man.  Was time to recreate it...and take the power theme and sexiness to the next level! 

Esquire article on the Halle shoot:  

My Nikon D800 fitted with the Nikon 15mm f/3.5 AI-s Fisheye.  (forgive the random iPhone photo here. ) 

My Nikon D800 fitted with the Nikon 15mm f/3.5 AI-s Fisheye.  (forgive the random iPhone photo here. ) 

Examining the inspiration for my shoot,  it was obvious the the original was shot with a fisheye lens. At least, that's what I researched and found out.  Since I don't own a fisheye, I had to pick one up from my go to rental source in NY, Fotocare.   Wasn't too used to using this type of lens and knew it required some skill to get the right angles and effects.  

The start.  Test shots to see what that lens would get me. 

The start.  Test shots to see what that lens would get me. 

You literally have to be very close to the subject to get the best results.

You literally have to be very close to the subject to get the best results.

Once I was all set with the lighting and getting familiar with the lens, was time to get Patsi in place and start shooting.  Keeping with my desire to not have a typical maternity shoot,  I wanted to make sure the wardrobe wasn't something that took too much attention.  To me, it's unrealistic anyway.  Those long, lovely, flowing dresses and wraps work well for those type of shoots sure, but how many women 8-9 months into their pregnancy are running around wearing all that? I wanted Patsi to be 100% at home, relaxed and just...pregnant! Comfortable as she could be.  So that meant barefoot in a tank and some leggings! Simple.  We also wanted the expressions and the poses to be much more lively and fun so dresses and such wouldn't have worked. 

"No, not yet!" 

So, we got into the flow of it all and within an hour about, we were wrapped.

We had a great time getting this all done and I had a lot of fun in post recreating the Esquire cover.   Was such a pleasure as always working with my lovely wife.  Working with her and my soon expected child in her belly was even better!  Now I just have to come up with something funky for the newborn shots!! Hmmmm.....                                    ~ Christian

"Okay, this is it!"